Ideas can...transform

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alison Hebbs, Director of Policy and Communications
Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

A new idea excites its creator(s), leads to debate, and sparks discovery that drives people forward. Ideas give us hope, earn respect for those who went before us, and help us build a better place for those who will come. People with ideas enhance their communities, share knowledge with others and build connections for the future. Ideas are about being human and caring about the world.

And, ideas have changed us. You may not even know us (the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences), but you know the people we represent: 85,000 students, scholars and researchers in the humanities, arts and social sciences. They study everything from geography to religion to education, and they create and share knowledge that makes Canada a better place. Their ideas are ensuring better futures for the children of immigrants, leading the digital revolution and transforming healthcare to better support families.

This work is crucial. We are at an important time in our history. Issues are global and complex; competition is serious and growing; and old approaches no longer suffice. Never before has understanding humanity, cultures, languages and behaviour been so important.

Thus, emerging from recent strategic planning and consultations, we set our communications targets very high. We want to chart a bold new course for raising awareness for and interest in the humanities and social sciences. So, we started by taking a hard look at ourselves. We asked members, leaders, partners and staff about what makes us, and what we do, important. You know what we heard? Things like, “you address the most important issues facing Canada and Canadians” and that we are a “significant force in marshalling the intellectual and political capacity of Canada.”

So, here we are. We are still “the Federation” and yes, we still (legally) have a long name. In the end, being a federation was deemed too core to who we are to abandon. But, we agreed that a public image that embraces the aspirational aspect of what we do was essential.

For almost a year, we tirelessly asked ourselves, “What in the world could possibly embody the part of us that is about creativity, about challenging, and about change?” Then it hit us. Ideas can...

Welcome to the new us.


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